Here in Lenapehoking (Philadelphia)…
Most of the trees are bare. The temperatures have cooled, but it’s still not too cold. As I write this, the day after Thanksgiving, the day is dreary and cool. Thick clouds cover the sky and no sunlight peaks through.
This morning a small flock of House Sparrows hopped across the front porch joyful and chattering as they often do. The birds have beautiful songs, chirps, and sounds which remind us to enjoy and appreciate life.
The House Sparrows are back in their winter flocks. They disperse and pair off during the breeding season, but join back up as the chores of raising young come to a close. They have taken to gathering in the next-door-neighbors holly bush. The stray cats always seem tot stroll by the holly bush, glancing up and peering into the prickly leaves. The cats know the sparrows are in there but there is nothing they can do about it.
The Mourning Doves are back to visiting by backyard. I don’t see them all summer but they reappear as autumn and then winter sets in. It’s funny I don’t see them in the back driveway of my street except in the colder months. Where are they during breeding season?
The Robins have left the area. I have seen their winter flocks in trees in wooded areas. There is a woods about one mile from my house and I suspect that is where my neighborhood Robins go in autumn.
Eastern Carpenter Bees are Still Flying
I spotted a few hairy coated Eastern Carpenter Bees (Xylocopa virginica) gathering nectar from the few flowers still blooming. I caught this bee climbing deep inside this snapdragon blossom in my backyard. I think it’s a Carpenter Bee. I saw other bees too. Bees are just phenomenal creatures.
The shadbush is empty of leaves. Not one leaf remains to dangle and twist in winter’s wind. Autumn in gone and winter is here.
What changes have you noticed in animal behavior?
Should We End Daylight Saving Time?
I’m glad daylight savings time is over until spring. Many people are talking about ending it. I’m all for it. I think it served it’s purpose.
I remember the energy and gas crisis of the 1970’s. I was tiny but I remember waiting in long lines at the gas station to fill up the gas tank of the family car. My Dad didn’t want to wait by himself so my Mom, little brother and I would make a family outing of it.
Back then many Americans wanted to decrease our dependence on foreign oil. We were energy saving by retrofit our houses, carpooling (ride sharing), and turning down our home heating thermostats. Double-paned windows and home insulation was a new thing back then. We have done a good job making home more energy efficient and extending car mileage.
Standard time just feels more natural. The days are naturally short and the nights naturally long. Do you think it’s time to end daylight savings time?
Did You Know?
Red Supergiant stars are colossal stars, estimated to be about 1,400 times the mass of our Sun? Red Supergiants apparently don’t exist for very long. When supergiants die they explode. The explosion is called as Supernova.
When can see a Red Supergiant in December. The large reddish star Betelgeuse, found in the left shoulder of the star constellation Orion is a Red Supergiant. It’s 724 light years from Earth. Betelgeuse is not expected to go ‘supernova’ for another 100,000 years.
Work consulted: 2023 Night Sky Almanac by Nicole Mortillaro (Amazon.com affiliate link. I may earn a commission for Amazon purchases using the links. This does not affect the price you pay.)
The December 2022 Nature Almanac
Winter Solstice – December 21, 2022 at 4:48 p.m. EST
This month’s moon is called The Cold Moon, Long Nights Moon. The month’s moon begins with the new moon.
In Powhattan Algonquian (Virginia) languages this season is called Papnow or puppaannoh – winter.
In the Sky This Month: December 2022
Winter Full Moons are high in the sky. Moonrise occurs about 50 minutes later each day.
November 23 – New Cold Moon, Long Nights Moon
November 30 – First Quarter Cold Moon, Long Nights Moon
December 7 – Full Cold Moon, Long Nights Moon
December 16 – Last Quarter Cold Moon, Long Nights Moon
December 23 – New Wolf Moon
December 29 – First Quarter Wolf Moon
New moon always rises near sunrise, sets at sunset
First Quarter near noon, Rises at noon, sets at midnight
Full Moon always rises near sunset, sets at sunrise
Last Quarter rises near midnight, sets at noon
Meteor Shower: December 13 -14, Geminid, prominent display, best seen all night, originating in the northeast, except 75 meteors per hour. Best and most reliable meteor shower of the year.
December 22, Ursid Meteor shower, best seen in the predawn , originating in the north, in a cloudless, rural sky except to see about 5 meteors per hour.
Prominent Star constellations: December 2022
Southern direction: Orion dominates the night sky this month. Look toward the south. Also look for Pleiades, Taurus the Bull.
Northern direction: Ursa Major (the Great Bear), the Big Dipper (part of the Great Bear), Ursa Minor (the Little Bear), Cassiopeia, Andromeda Galaxy.
December 2022 Citizen Science Events to Participate In
Next month: January 2023 Nature Almanac
Nature Almanac Back Issues
That’s it for this issue. Look for the next issue at the end of December 2022.
“Being content with what you have already is and art form; it leads to a peace that can’t be replaced by anything else.” Elizabeth Gilbert
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Winter Solstice – MidWinter